Bernardus Marinus Pon, owner of Bernardus Winery in Carmel Valley, died on Monday, Sept. 30. In memory of Pon, who went by Ben, the tasting room located at 5 West Carmel Valley Road closed Tuesday and remains closed Wednesday.
Pon chose Carmel Valley as a location for his vineyards a quarter of a century ago and succeeded in creating his highly regarded Bourdeaux blend, Marinus. Pon also created a distinct portfolio of single-vineyard-designated Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
He was the first winemaker to open a tasting room in Carmel Valley, where he converted the former Bank of America into a venue for wine education and tasting. Pon’s tasting room inspired others to open, and today the village hosts more than two dozen tasting rooms.
Kim Stemler, executive director of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, says that this region was fortunate to have Pon as an influence.
“We are so very grateful that he made his way to us; he helped elevate the Monterey County winemaking community," Stemler says. "He will not only be remembered for his winery, but for how accessible Ben was to everyone in the area. He chose an excellent staff, and his connections helped open doors to have his high-quality wine renown, and this news saddens us.”